Recently, the travel booking website, Orbitz, discovered an alarming data breach that potentially exposed credit card information for thousands of their customers. The incident is just one in a long line of reported data breaches across industries and companies within the last year including OnePlus, Verizon, Yahoo, and Equifax.
All of these events beg the question of how businesses and travel managers can overcome the pervasiveness of credit card data breaches and ensure the security of payments and payment information.
Travel managers in particular obtain substantial amounts of data on their travelers intended to create a more tailored booking experience, which can include monitoring of credit card spend. Storage of personal information and credit card data after the trip is over is of particular concern. It may seem that the key to preventing breaches is strict adherence to security standards and compliance policy, but the fact remains that hackers are getting smarter.
The emergence of virtual credit cards as a form of corporate travel payments has presented a viable solution to many of these concerns. Most important, is that single-use virtual cards used to book air, car, and hotel reservations are based on specific spend amounts. If a charge is outside of present limits, the transaction will be declined. This type of structure can essentially eliminate the opportunity for credit card fraud. The credit card number and accompanying data instantly becomes invalid after use, again eliminating any opportunity for a data breach.
Another avenue to secure corporate travel payments that still utilizes a tangible plastic card is a corporate purchasing card that includes real-time spending controls. This is ideal for compliance policy purposes as well, allowing managers to set limits on spending up front, and restrict or block usage through a web-based platform interface. Rather than wondering if that hundred-dollar dinner bill was legitimate, it would be identified as an already approved spending parameter, or it could be approved/denied on-the-spot.
Virtual cards and purchasing cards allow travel managers to stay in control of transaction types and spending amounts for each traveler. There is always only one purchasing card per employee and single-use virtual cards are attached to one exact transaction amount which makes for straight-forward reconciliations that can often be automated.
Reports can also be created to include specific details on reservations and employees with extensive accounting data points surrounding a person, trip, or event.
We’re entering a new space in corporate travel payments and there is no reason that companies should be risking data breaches when there are more modern, convenient, and perfectly secure virtual card payment solutions available.